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David Gaider & Liam Esler Interview: Stray Gods, A Roleplaying Musical

Upcoming game Stray Gods puts a musical spin on the classic story-game formula. The title was first announced at the 2022 Humble Games Showcase as a collaboration between the publishing wing of Humble Bundle and Summerfall Studios. The title will combine Broadway-style song with dialogue decisions and other character choices that will make for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Stray Gods began as a project from the mind of David Gaider, the creator of the Dragon Age series, as a new way of looking at story games. In Stray Gods, players assume the role of Grace, who is quickly thrust into unknown territory after the last of the Greek muses dies in her arms. From there Grace will have to prove her innocence to a Chorus of Greek gods consisting of Athena, Apollo, Persephone, and Aphrodite, who give her one week to find the true murderer. Alongside normal dialogue decisions typically seen in story games, players will also make them during musical numbers, completely changing the tone and lyrics of the song based on their choice.

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Stray Gods developers David Gaider and Liam Esler sat down with Screen Rant to discuss the difficulties with Stray Gods‘ unique mechanics, its musical inspirations, and their plans for its future.

I have to assume you guys are fans of musicals to an extent.

Do you have any in particular that helped inspire the game?

You’ve had a lot of experience making your own mythology for a world with Dragon Age, David, but this is incorporating already existing mythology and twisting it in a fun new way. What was that new experience like?

Are there any other big mythological characters that weren’t present in that main scene that players can expect at later times? Because Zeus is the messiest guy.

I know that the game used to be called Chorus. At what point in the development did it shift into something different entirely?

You’re collaborating with Austin Wintory, who’s a really awesome composer. During the showcase, he mentioned that there are a bunch of songs that many players will never encounter, and there’s a ton of secret stuff in this game. Can you elaborate on that a little bit more?

At this point, is there any runtime in mind? Or is it very variable?

David, you mentioned this was a project you wanted to do for a really long time.

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When I first saw it introduced at the Humble Showcase, I wasn’t sure if it was a rhythm-based thing going on or what. It must be so complicated to make. Because usually, with branching dialogue, you just record these three options.

How did you and Liam first come together for this project?

What year did Stray Gods start really taking shape?

It’s the kind of thing that sounds so niche when you hear it, but then you’re like, “Wait, so many people actually like it.” It combines so many different genres into something really exciting.

Do you have any favorite ways that you’ve seen the game evolve over time?

During that first duet with Calliope and Grace, I got chills. I can already foresee myself being Grace for Halloween. Love a brunette protagonist. It’s easy to slap together.

Is there anything that you want players to know about Stray Gods at this point in development?

I know it’s early days still. Do you guys have any sort of timeline, or is it just up in the air?

Stray Gods currently has no set release date.

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